The presidency has written off claims by the Labour Party Presidential flagbearer, Peter Obi that some of his supporters were being intimidated by powers that be.
With the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC announcing the official commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general elections, Obi had accused the Nigeria Police and the DSS of arresting some of his supporters campaigning for him.
But a presidential source while debunking the allegations, said accusations made earlier Wednesday on social media by the presidential aspirant, Peter Obi, that some of his supporters, known as “Obidients”, have been “silently arrested” are without foundation or fact.
The source in the State House, Nigeria’s seat of power who spoke under conditions of anonymity, absolved both the Nigeria Police Force, NPF and the Department of State Services, DSS insisting that they have officially confirmed that no arrests whatsoever were made of Mr. Obi’s supporters.
The presidency claims Nigeria’s democratic process is free and fair and all candidates – whether those from the established parties or minor ones have the constitutional right to campaign openly and without hindrance.
He also claimed that anyone who breaks the law, either the supporters of the government party or the opposition must be held to account for their actions.
But in another twist, the source asked if, for instance, opposition parties’ supporters damage private property in the course of a campaign, march or rally, should they not be held to account? If for instance, governing party supporters defame an opposition figure should they not be held to account? Of course, they all should.
He, however, revealed that what is known about a Labour Party member who was bailed by the party’s chairman in Lagos State is that on 30/09/22, one Joseph Chimezie ONUORAH Passport No: A12553760 arrived in Nigeria aboard Air France, and was intercepted about 2230hrs at the E wing of MMIA Lagos by the Nigerian Immigration Service at the instance of the Lagos State Police Investigation Bureau for an investigation that concerned him.
“This also means that politicians from all sides of the political divide have a duty to maintain standards in public debate and refrain from making statements or accusations that could lead to the raising of tensions and make the prospect of aggressive physical behaviour more likely.
“Accusations that individuals have been “silently arrested” – and no one, frankly, knows what that description is supposed to mean is an example of a statement made by a politician without any known foundation, with the express intention of raising the temperature in this electoral contest. That cannot be good for democracy that thrives on facts and thinking, not on false statements and fiction.”